When Kenyans go to vote tomorrow, one in two people who picks up a ballot will be aged 35 or under.
This means the youth will have a big say in Kenya’s 11th General Election since independence, according to figures released by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).
Half of all the 19.6 million registered voters are aged 35 and below, with a third aged between 25 and 35. Another one in six people are between 18 and 24 years of age and many of them will be voting for the first time.
This age group of new voters makes up 20 per cent or more of voters in eight counties — Mandera, Garissa, Homa Bay, Kisumu, Baringo, Wajir, Migori and Tana River.
Mandera has the highest proportion of voters aged 35 and under at 61 per cent, followed by Nairobi, Garissa, Wajir, Mombasa, Kajiado and Kisumu.
The number of new voters registered is important because it could hold the key to winning the election. Between 2013 and 2017, 5.2 million voters were added to the register.
Generally, the greatest increase in the number of voters has been in Nairobi County, where the figures have risen by 518,565.
Nairobi was followed by Kiambu with an increase of 317,721, Nakuru (253,024), Meru (212,890) and Kakamega (175,585). In total, 20 counties recorded an increase of more than 100,000 voters.
Countrywide, the number of people listed to vote increased markedly due to registration drives by the IEBC prior to the 2013 election. Although the IEBC, in 2015, stated that it intended to register eight million new voters by this year, by the end of the listing period, it only managed to sign up 5.2 million. This is the segment that will be voting for the first time.
Lamu County recorded the lowest increase in the number of new voters — 17,417. It was followed by Isiolo County with 20,751 and Samburu with 21,637.
The number of Kwale’s voters remarkably jumped by 60 per cent from 175,572 to 281,041, the highest percentage increase. It was followed by Kilifi, where the number of voters increased by 51 per cent, from 336,410 to 508,068. The number of Nyamira County voters went up by 27 per cent, from 219,428 to 278,853. This was the lowest percentage rise.
A high turnout is expected in this election. In 2013, 86 per cent of all voters cast their ballots. That year, Homa Bay County had the highest turnout at 94 per cent. It was followed by Nyeri, Murang’a and Nyandarua at 93 per cent each. Kilifi had the lowest turnout at 65 per cent, followed by Mombasa at 66 per cent.
According to a poll conducted by Strategic Africa for the Nation Media Group between July 21 and 23, 92 per cent of voters said they would certainly vote on Election Day.
Even before anyone votes tomorrow morning, one member of Parliament, Mr Kimani Ichung’wa of Kikuyu Constituency, will already have been elected, being the only gazetted candidate for that area.
Nationally, male voters outnumber women by nearly seven per cent. The widest gaps are to be found in Vihiga County, where 14 per cent more men than women are registered to vote, followed by Makueni with a gap of 13 per cent, Murang’a (12 per cent), Machakos (12 per cent) and Siaya (11 per cent).
The most equal county, with the smallest gap between male and female voters is Kiambu. It has a gap of only 0.4 per cent between male and female voters in favour of men.
At constituency level, the numbers are even more revealing. Women voters outnumber men in 22 of the 290 constituencies. The areas where women voters outnumber men are concentrated in Kiambu County — Juja, Thika town, Ruiru, Kiambu, Kiambaa and Kabete.
In Nairobi County, women voters outnumber men in Dagoretti South, Roysambu, Kasarani, Embakasi North, Embakasi Central and Embakasi West constituencies.
Others with more women voters are Kisauni in Mombasa County, Kisumu East in Kisumu County, Kajiado North in Kajiado County, Naivasha and Nakuru Town East in Nakuru County, Tiaty in Baringo County, Kachileba in West Pokot County, and Turkana North and Loima in Turkana County.
Of the 40,883 polling stations in Kenya, six have only one person registered to vote. These are Barguque Dam in Eldas, Lowangila Primary School in Tigania East, Masaani Primary School in Kilome, Lochor-Apua Water Point in Turkana West, Eroret Primary School in Kajiado County and the Women’s Wing of Busia Prison.
There are less than 100 voters registered at 834 polling stations and when all the polling stations are taken into account, the median number of voters at a polling station is 501.
While much attention will be focused on the Jubilee Party and the National Super Alliance (Nasa), the two represent only a small proportion of the candidates running for various seats. Together, the two political outfits account for only a third of the candidates.
The rest are either independents or candidates sponsored by small parties. Eleven of the 64 parties taking part in the election account for 50 per cent of all the candidates.
Jubilee and Nasa will both account for 35 per cent, just slightly over a third of all the 14,523 candidates running in the 2017 election. Only four political parties will present candidates for all the six electoral positions.
On the other side of the scale, nine small parties have presented candidates for only the positions of either MP or MCA.
One party, the Kenya National Democratic Alliance, has presented only one candidate, for a member of Parliament seat, Mr Ephraim Murigo, who will contest in Mbeere North.
Twenty parties have presented candidates for all electoral positions other than that of president. The one with the largest number is the Maendeleo Chap Chap Party, which has presented 706 MCA candidates. The party leader, Dr Alfred Mutua, is defending his seat as Machakos governor.
Analysis of party data by Newsplex shows smaller parties have focused more on races at ward and constituency level before considering county and national level races. Candidates for Senator, Women County Representative and Governor are added as the parties get bigger.
Nine parties have entered candidates for only the elective positions of MP and MCA. Combined they have entered 263 MCA candidates and 34 MP candidates. The largest is the Muungano Party, led by Makueni Governor, Kivutha Kibwana, which has 93 MCA candidates and 12 MP candidates, most of which come from Machakos, Makueni and Kitui.
FOUR ELECTIVE POSITIONS
For parties that have fielded candidates in three electoral posts, the most common combination, which was chosen by eight political parties, was Senator, MP and MCA.
The most candidates in this combination were fielded by the Peoples Trust Party, which presented 59 MCA candidates, 2 MP candidates and a Senate Candidate who is party leader.
Forty eight of the MCA candidates come from Machakos, Makueni and Kitui, although there are other candidate across the country.
Three parties decided to run candidates for a combination of MP, MCA and Women County Representative seats. The party with the most candidates running this combination was the Citizens Convention Party, which had 44 MCA candidates, five MP candidates and two candidates for Women representative. Most candidates in the party are to be found in around the western Kenya counties and the coast.
Fourteen parties have presented candidates in races for four elective positions. These parties have more women representative candidates, but are still less likely to run a candidate for governor or a presidential candidate.
The most common combination of candidates was Senator, MP, MCA and Women County Representative, chosen by eight parties. Another three presented candidates for Governor, Senator, MCA and MP, two presented candidates for MP, MCA, Women Rep and Governor, while the Alliance for Real Change, presented candidates for President, Governor, MCA and MP.